TedX speech in Scots on Scots

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Interesting video here from TedX all in Scots and about Scots. The guy giving the speech is a neuroscientist and talks about how the brain reacts differently to an L1 vs. an L2, even if the two are really close. In this case they are close enough that you should be able to understand most of it, and even more so if you know another Germanic language. Check out 14:32 or so for example where he uses the word Künstler or however it's spelled in Scots.


Clozemaster is quite addictive

Sunday, November 13, 2016

For the past few weeks I've been playing a lot of Clozemaster, an 8-bit style language learning game that is quite simple yet ends up being quite effective thanks to the new text input mode.

The way the site works is this: it takes all the sentences from Tatoeba.org, matches them up from language to language, and then turns it into a game where you fill in the missing word. Multiple choice is extremely easy and I only use that mode when using it on my phone. Otherwise the text input mode is what I go with all the time.

Now what is interesting about Closemaster is that because of its simplicity it works as good practice for synonyms. Sometimes you'll find yourself in a situation where you know the correct answer is let's say fertig, but the word doesn't quite fit. So then you have to start thinking about synonyms...try out bereit, and then it does fit. I can imagine that for some being marked wrong for entering a perfectly okay word would be irritating, but in practice I find it stretches the mind a bit more if you have to think not just about synonyms but also declensions. So sometimes maybe prêt doesn't fit but prêts or prêtes does. This roughness around the edges is part of what makes the game so appealing for me.


Wort der Woche (Deutsche Welle)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Deutsche Welle's Wort der Woche is a little-known but great resource for the history behind a lot of German words and expressions, which after almost a decade has amassed quite the large number of terms. Arschkarte (the red card in football/soccer) is a particularly good one. Apparently it's so named because before TVs had colour the referee had to carry the two cards in different places so the spectators could know which card he had drawn, and the red cards were kept near his Arsch.

Each one of these also comes with an mp3 matching the text exactly, so they work great for dictation/transcription.


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